Rainmaking- What will you do differently in 2018?

We’ve all heard variations of the quote attributed to Albert Einstein that “insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.  Yet, oftentimes we find ourselves doing just that. And it takes someone to remind us occasionally to make some calculated changes (in our lives, in our work) that may lead to something better.  I admit that I’m largely a creature of habit as well. But I also know that when I’ve opened myself up to trying something new, it’s usually a good thing!

So, what does that have to do with Rainmaking and building your business?  If you’re in a service related business and have to generate revenue for your firm, you know that having a steady pipeline of potential projects and referral sources is a great way to systematically grow your business.  And sometimes, just tweaking a few things in your plan and carrying them out throughout the year can pay big dividends.  Here are some suggestions for some changes you might implement in the next year to see some bigger results.

Make a written plan.  I know; you’re thinking that’s almost too simple.  Yet, many people don’t do it.  It’s said that people who write down their plans are 9 times as likely to achieve the goals they set out to achieve.  That’s quite a difference.  Draft the plan with measurable milestones and goals.  Don’t be afraid to set stretch goals.  But also be realistic.  If the plan is too crazy and you can’t possibly achieve the goals, you’ll get discouraged.

Review your plan frequently.  Even people who write down a plan and have good intentions about following it often don’t review it during the year.  If you wait until the end of the year to be accountable to yourself (or others) about your progress toward the goal, you will likely find yourself surprised – and not in the good way!  I recommend to review your plan at least monthly.  If you’ve set measurable goals, you should be able to break them down into monthly (and even weekly) goals.  As you review them monthly, you can celebrate successes, evaluate areas for improvement, and adjust the goals as needed.

Take on one new marketing outreach tool.  Have you been thinking about adding blogging to your repertoire?  Make this the year.  And don’t feel like you have to immediately blog once a week.  Start with once per month.  (Experts will recommend that you do it at least once per week, but if that is too daunting, you can do less.)  What about freshening up your website?  Or revamping your e-newsletter?  How about your social media presence?  When was the last time you updated your Linked-In profile or posted an article to that site?  Make sure to add your new endeavor to your plan and then take steps toward getting started.

Consider a mastermind group or a coach.  Whether through a formal or informal setting, there is strength in numbers.  Particularly if you are a small business owner or entrepreneur, sometimes it’s lonely at the top and it’s difficult to know where to go for advice or idea sharing.  A coach or trusted network can often help you get out of your own way.  When we get stuck, it’s often because we fail to delegate, or get overwhelmed with client work.  Then the pipeline building, networking and future revenue generating activities cease.  It becomes a cycle that’s difficult to break.  A coach or peer group is often able to objectively help you take a look in the mirror and get you going in the right direction again.

Invest in education.  This could come in many forms.  You might consider attending some sales training classes.  Or reading a few business books about referral strategies or closing the deal.  It might include attending a conference or even taking yourself on a retreat that includes some training and some relaxation.  The truth is that we all are continuing to learn as technologies speed up around us. It’s important to remember that sometimes we need to work on our businesses rather than just in them!

And finally, don’t forget to celebrate the accomplishments along the way.  Start by giving yourself kudos for finishing up 2017 (even if you might still have a little way to go in the next month to reach those goals).  And then periodically celebrate your victories throughout the year.  Treat yourself to that nice bottle of wine, or a dinner date with your spouse or significant other.  Buy those fabulous designer shoes (or their equivalent for you) when you hit that Q1 revenue goal you set, particularly if it was a stretch goal!  Make it fun.  With a clear vision, purpose and a great attitude, you can set yourself up to achieve whatever you’re striving for.  We’ll see you in 2018!